Giveaway- Bananagrams

Okay in our house we have a new favorite game and as I launch this new domain, I thought it might make a perfect giveaway.

Bananagrams is a new game that is a hit! Everyone of every age can play and have fun together. You don’t even need to be a whiz to win. For us we are finding it fun, and for you homeschooling parents it is educational too.

Found this really cute video on You Tube..


So okay know for the rules:

1. To enter this contest please be a Canadian or US resident, or have a mailing address that is in one of these two countries.

2. Leave a comment on this post, or any other post this month on Common Cents Mom. You get one entry for every comment. Please no enter me please comments unless on this thread. They must relate to the post.

3. Blog about this post or let others know about the giveaway ( ie a blog post, stumble upon, etc) and share with me how you did that and get 5 bonus entries

4. Decide to add me to your blog roll ( I will reciprocate and add you here- if you are frugal, family or faith related). This also gets you 5 bonus entries

I have been blogging for years but decided it was time to get my own domain, and with that comes ways to save cents, have common sense, have fun and maybe a few giveaways along the way!

Contest closes March 31 st, at 7 pm EST..

Menu Monday: Frugal Favorites

orgjunkiempm1This week with ice storms and rain headed our way I simply wanted comfort food. Favorites of my daughter and me. So I’m sharing my favorite recipe, and as you can see the rest of the week is easy.

1. Honey Mustard Curry Chicken(* recipe to follow), rice, corn

2. Spaghetti and meat sauce, and garlic fingers, with side salad ( leftovers are for lunch).

3.Hotdogs and French fries

4. Breakfast for dinner – scrambled eggs, toasted bagels, and tomato

5. Pizza- Sobeys has these on sale this week here in the Maritimes

6. Grilled Cheese and Chicken Noddle( soup was $.50 a can).

7. Leftover Mania

Now for my Curry Honey Mustard Chicken. This recipe is the one that all my friends love when they come for dinner.

  • 2 TBS curry powder
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup mustard
  • whole chicken cut into pieces.

Place chicken in glass baking dish, preheat oven to 375. Mix your 3 ingredients in bowl, you can add curry powder to taste. Bake in oven for 1 hr or if you want you can do this in the slow cooker too, where I leave it on low all day while I am at work. It is our family favorite, and it ain’t that expensive especially when you can get chicken on sale.

Now I am off to read what is cooking in other kitchens over at Organizing Junkie. You all might just want to check out my giveaway here.

Finding Faith Alone

These last few years have been a real struggle for me when it comes to matters of faith. When the sun comes up each morning and the day has just begun I have doubts and fears deep within me. What if what I was taught as a child isn’t truth? What does God want of me now? How much can one person handle? For me the last few years my faith has gone through a period of great turmoil as I question God, as I question Christ, as I question the reasons to believe. But let me take you back and tell you how I got here.

I grew up in Brandon Manitoba and attended Sunday School there at Knox United Church. There I first learned that God existed and who Jesus was.

 Then as a Youth I became part of a great youth ministry in Winnipeg at Friendship Baptist Church. There was an emphasis on missions, youth, and sharing your faith. Several of the youth including me were part of a good choir that often represented Southern Baptist work in Canada. I was even part of a church planting team that started a small church close to the University of Manitoba. I loved that period of time in my life, yet even then I was questioning God and doctrines, and why there were so many different christian churches.

Then as a young woman I converted to Mormonism. I became a faithful and devout Mormon. I even went to the temple where I was even married. My faith in Mormonism fell down around me as my marriage melted before my eyes. I was still attending church but my faith wasn’ t there.

In my early 30’s I met a woman at work one day who was reading her bible at lunch. Well that conversation turned into many more and again I turned back to Christianity, but this time church included things like discipleship, mandated sharing the faith, and leaders that weren’t to be questioned. For me this worked for awhile but really again I was attending church but not really finding faith. At this time in my life as well I was a single mom raising a young child and that brought challenges and even made attending church more of a challenge then it was worth most weekends. I felt defeated and alone. At this same time my church was going through its own metamorphosis.  It seemed for awhile that many in the congregation were just hanging on. For me the newcomer I found it hard to create and sustain real relationships. Most seemed fake or forced. I also felt judged and isolated because of my daughter’s special needs and the fact I wasn’t working. For me it was simply easier to make a quiet exit out the back door.

Last year I met a Muslim neighbour who had converted to Islam from Christianity. In our friendship I found someone I could talk to, share with, someone who got my questions. Perhaps this was because we both had daughters the same age with similar special needs. Perhaps it was because life experiences had taken us each inside the halls of many churches. We talked at length about the Quran and the bible. We talked about the similarities and differences of the different faiths. We talked alot about prayer and how it got her through her day. It was the standard of her faith. It was also how she worshipped. She didn’t need to go to a building to do it, it could be done anywhere.

Months later I was here in Nova Scotia still trying to figure out faith and it hit me that for me it simply is about taking that leap of faith and reaching out to God, the one and only. It for me was and is about my need to take it to him in prayer. For me it has been in prayer that I have found faith again. I know I can reach out to a loving God who knows me better then any human and be wrapped in his arms of love. For me it is how I have found faith here alone. For me right now it makes sense. It is in the quiet that I can find him and see him. I am thankful for that.

Roo’s Story

winter-08-09-048I read this article this morning in the Huffington Post and decided it was time I shared the story of my daughter Roo.

Roo was born in Carlsbad, New Mexico in 1998. I had a rough pregnancy with lots of stress but she came out a beautiful 7 lb, 13 oz girl. Iwas a very happy mom. I found out quite quick I couldn’t breast feed, so I had to turn to formula. Our first few months on formula well weren’t the best. Roo couldn’t keep it down. She literally could vomit across the room. I know not a nice picture. At age 2 months thanks to a wonderful nurse practitioner there in Carlsbad, Roo was diagnosed as protein intolerant. She was put on a special formula (Neutramagin).

She was growing healthy and strong, proteins were kept at bay so her digestive system would have a chance to grow and develop. She was a strong healthy little girl. When I took her for her 18 mo baby check up. By this time we had moved to Toronto, Canada and her doctor decided we would put off her vaccine because of the makeup of the vaccine and Roo’s body inability to handle it.

Well by age 4  Roo was getting ready to go to school and needed that vaccine or we couldn’t register by this time doctors thought her digestive system should handle it. Well lets just say within weeks Roo had many of the symptoms of autism, or sensory disorders.

Here is just some of the things that Roo experienced shortly after vaccination:

  • insomnia ( Roo was a great sleeper when she was little, now she wakes up at least once a night, sometimes more, until the last 6 months it was often multiple times a night).
  • sensory integration issues ( bright lights and the feel of certain textures on her skin). Getting her to wear socks is still an issue. As well Rachel has a problem with bright artificial light. Can you say sunglasses inside?
  • misunderstanding social cues
  • screaming fits , I can remember being at church and having to take my daughter out of the children’s program many a Sunday because of behavioral issues, I can remember one Sunday quite well. Roo was in the midst of a fit and I was holding her and I can remember the looks of some of the other parents. Church and Roo so far have not been a great experience. Roo often cant still for an hour, she tilts the chair she sits on, etc, and unless you have trained children’s leaders experienced with special kids it is more then a challenge, it is a nightmare for both child and parent.  Too be honest I became more and more discouraged after attending church then encouraged.
  • food sensitivities ( I think these are part of the original diagnosis)
  • loss of  small eye hand coordination. Rachel had great small finger control for a young child. Ie she has using scissors and cutting well, holding a crayon well etc.  She lost that, holding a pencil became a chore, printing well lets just say Roo still does not write in cursive and her printing is what you would see in grades 1 or 2. For her printing is a real chore. She would rather tell you the answer.
  • oral fixations. Roo for the longest time would chew on her clothes. The ends of her sleeves would quickly become a ruined mess. Can you see why most of her tops came from Value Village, or thrift stores. We went thorough alot of them!

As she got into school she had trouble from grade one on. The third week of school I had the teacher tell me my daughter was ” hell to teach” and that is a direct quote.  I quit my job when Roo was in grade 1 and took part time employment so I could be more actively there for my daughter as we tried to get a proper diagnosis.

The full diagnosis didn’t come till grade 2. Roo is very smart, tests at the 97% level which mean she borders on gifted, has an LD and walks a fine line between Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD. Depending on the day you will get a differing diagnosis.

Roo at school until this year, had an EA for grades 3 and 4 and was integrated for most part in the regular classroom. This year when we moved to Nova Scotia she was not given an EA, and is in a split class ( gr 4 and 5). She has only been accommodated for her LD, nothing else. To this date I have yet to see an IEP in place for her. She is struggling with social issues that include bullying and isloation. She is also becoming depressed so I worry alot as she approaches the teen years. Special kids are known to have higher rates for teen suicide, dropping out and drug use.

If all of this can be linked back to one needle, maybe just maybe we can save a child from having to go through some of the hardships that Roo faces or faced. Maybe we do need to ask more questions of our doctors. I don’t know the solutions, as a mother I simply know that for me, common sense tells me I was wrong to let my daughter have that needle. But then again hindsight is twenty twenty they say.

Friday Freebie: Online Resources and Entertainment for Your Kids

I am a single mom of one very busy active 11 year old girl who loves her computer. She loves coming on and playing games, goggling stuff she wants to know about, and watching You Tube videos, and cartoons that we find online. Almost everything Roo does online she does for FREE. Her computer time is about 1 hour a day after school unless she is working on educational what does Roo recommend?

Roo’s top 5 FREE sites that she either has visited while growing up and her current favorites are listed below.

1.Teletoon ( Roo loves the games here).

2.Club Penguin ( Roo has had both free and paid memberships here–it came out of her allowance.

3. Link to Learning (If you live in Ontario and have kids this really is a curriculum rich resource that is fun as well. With all the winter storms here Roo has made great use of this site this year.)

4.Starfall ( what a great online reading resource.Roo when learning to read  spent alot of time on this site)

5. Chapmans ( Roo loves the fact that playing games here earns her points that she can trade for real stuff even free ice cream, this site is meant for Canadian kids.)

Bowling for Kids

Every year Big Brothers/ Big Sisters organizations across Canada fundraise by Bowling for kids sake. Big Brothers and Big sisters provide great mentoring to young kids who really do need it. Did you know that kids on the wait list for a big brother or sister can still participate in activities? I have joined a team at work who are bowling for kids! If you can will you visit my pledge pageand consider sponsoring me. The need is great and our kids do need great mentors.  Thanks ahead of time!

Works for Me : Envelopes

Well our Work for Me Wednesday has a new home, hope our hostess has a big welcome mat!

What has been working well for me lately is using Envelopes, for budgeting purposes. Huh? How do I use them? Well I use a zero approach to budgeting. Every dollar has a spot where it is supposed to go. Now I am down to 2 ATM withdraws a month. When I take the cash out of the bank I have envies labelled and ready for the cash.

My envies are this for me

  • babysitting
  • groceries
  • taxis
  • fun
  • lunch/snacks

every other bill rent, cable, Internet and phone are paid via bank transfer, or check. When I take money out the bank it belongs to a certain envie, when the contents of that envie is gone well there is no spending till new money gets put in the envie at the next ATM withdrawal. Dave Ramsey first came up and taught the system and well for me it simply does work.  It is a great way to reign in spending and dont carry credit or debit cards out the door, just the cash.

Now I am off to read what is working for everyone else this week at our new home here.

Who Knew?

This common sense mom is really hating the news lately. It is all about layoffs, the financial crisis, how to survive stories. It is driving me crazy! Just a year ago these some reports would be showing us how to spend more money, find the best vacations, etc. They definitely were not preparing us for the road ahead. But really who knew? History did! You see history has a way of repeating itself until we wake up and really learn from it. Our grandparents knew how to save and still have fun. Our grandparents knew to go without UNTIL you could afford it, they were not the credit card generation.

What are some of the lessons I learned from my grandparents that are helping me today.

  • Not wasting food…My one grandma always had leftover night once a week, something I am doing now too.
  • The change jar-both my grandma and mom had change jars, lose change got tossed in, this money was rolled but once a year and was used for a WANT, something fun.
  • Doing without until you can afford it.None of my grandparents owned a credit card. They simply paid cash. The only credit card I have is a debit mastercard that way the money comes straight out of the bank and NO interest fees.
  • Buying quality if even second hand..My one grandmother would take me to a consignment shop, it was through shopping here I learned how to spot a good find. Maybe that is why I love Value Village and the like today. Quality does last and it really doesn’t seem to go out of style.
  • Keep a wide network of friends and family and stay in touch. I don’t think my grandparents ever really hunted for jobs they knew people who knew people with jobs that needed filling. My one grandfather even went into business for himself in the 50’s as well as keeping his job. He bought fixer uppers or land north of Toronto and sold it piece buy piece. I was around to see the last piece sold when I was in university. His house was open, and inviting and he hand friends from every walk of life .

These are a few of the lessons this mom learned along the way from people who did live the depression and knew hard times. They were ingrained into me. I think if we look back instead of  looking all around us we might find some of the answers we need to meet the needs of these times. After all who knew? Our grandparents did, and they survived it and thrived.

Menu Monday: Cheap, Easy, Frugal



Well it definitely was a busy week last week but I did get my menu planning done. How do I approach my menu planning? First it has to be fast and fairly easy. I now get home at 6 pm and want to be able to put dinner on the table within 45 minutes. I also want it to be inexpensive and healthy. If you look over at my goals you can see that 2 of my goals losing weight and saving money make me a very aware shopper. This week some really good buys I took advantage of included buying wholewheat pasta for less then $1 a box, 10 boneless chicken breast for less then $10, pancake mix for $1.99, 2 family size boxes of cereal for $7, and tomato sauce for less then $1 a can. For me I have to flyer shop and combine that will coupons.

So what is on the Menu this week.

On Monday we are having  Easy Chicken Cacciatore and salad..It is storming here so it will be a nice fast dinner after a yucky day.

On Tuesday it is National Pancake Day so of course we will be having Pancakes!

On Wednesday I will be using my slow cooker and make Chicken Chili .

On Thursday it will be fast and easy as well Chicken Nuggets, Fries, and corn.

On Friday it is Taco time.

On Saturday we will clean out the fridge of leftovers.

On Sunday my mom and her friend are coming for dinner so I’m making Mushroom Pot Roast, red potatoes, and carrots.

Now I off to Organizing Junkie to see what is on the menu for others.

A Late Freebie Plus Weekend Escapades

It has continued to be certainly busy here so I am really enjoying my current 4 days off! I am excited that I have had this time to recharge and I have been also using it to do some early spring cleaning.

I didnt post a freebie on Friday so will post it now. I love to scrapbook and love experimenting with different fonts. Now I can even make my own handwriting as a font and so can you. Your font is a wonderful site that lets you turn your handwriting flair into a font. You do need a scanner and a printer. SO have some fun and turn your handwriting or maybe your child’s into a font.

Now for our weekend escapades. Roo and I went on a wee shopping spree yesterday.Roo saved her allowance for 3 months and well here is what she got.



  • leggings
  • hat
  • converse style sneakers
  • 2 skirts
  • 2 tops
  • 7 headbands
  • and a Henna Tatoo kit

Guess how much she spent?  $ 50.00 ! She had so much fun hitting Ardene and Bluenotes, as well we looked at books at Coles.  After we got home we watched Baby Mama on tv..

Today we did Henna Tattooing and are getting ready to watch the Oscars. Who am I cheering for?

Best Picture should be won by Slumdog Millionaire ( it’s now my favorite movie).

Kate Winslet should get Best Actress and Sean Penn should get Best Actor. They were good in both their roles, and yes I have seen the all the movies this year. So tonight it is all about Oscar! We are munching on nachos and watching the show.